The old saying goes that what we eat is what we are. If that’s the case, FounderFuel graduate Provender is going to disrupt our identity.
The food industry is one of the world’s largest, but it is relatively stagnant in a world where disruption seems to be the norm. Provender aims to change that in a number of ways.
The team wants to put farmers back in control of their own sales. By disintermediating the supply chain, and connecting farmers and their stories with the restaurants that use their produce, Provender aims to use the power of the Internet to forge direct relationships from farm to fork.
They want agriculture to become more of a data-driven pursuit, not only for individual farms, but for regions in aggregate. By collecting local data from farmers on the ground, they can create an open API that is useful for everybody in the area.
Finally, they want to open up a diverse ecosystem of food to restaurants frictionlessly, building sustainability and resilience into the foods we eat.
Provender is using new technology to take a new angle on the supply chain that has delivered food for decades. While a lot of technological innovation has focused on the later portions of the supply chain, elongating the lifespan of food through refrigeration or chemical preservatives, Provender wants to go back to the beginning.
The platform aims to shorten the cycle from soil to table by allowing farmers to communicate directly when a new crop will be ready for the tables of the restaurateurs who buy from them. This allows for the possibility of pre-orders, and helps get fresh food into restaurants faster.
Think of Provender as a futures market for fresh food that changes the rules of the game. Instead of dragging out the supply chain at the end, it aims to shorten it by directly connecting seed-to-table interaction. Restuaranters can indicate their purchase intent before crops have even been harvested, reducing risk throughout the supply chain.
The team is composed of food systems technologists. They have worked at food innovation stalwarts from Lufa Farms to Pollin8r, a Kickstarter for heirloom vegetables. Many of them are speakers and organizers in the food space, and it is their passion that burns brightly.
This has helped push Provender ahead, and the Montreal-based startup has gained significant traction. They’ve expanded to Toronto, Vermont, and Massachusetts, avoiding the typical bee-line to Silicon Valley as they seek to redefine old realities in new ways. They’ve grown in the double digits week-on-week.
As a metric of how exponential their growth has gone, last month Provender made more sales than it did for the nine months preceding it.
Provender is a Montreal-area startup that is fundamentally changing the way we play with our food. By embracing the tenets of the lean startup movement, and by focusing on data-driven metrics, and applying these insights to an old industry in need of change, the platform is capturing information that will make it easier for people around the world to enjoy fresh food grown only minutes away from them.
If we are what we eat, Provender wants us to be data-driven, lean, and sustainability-oriented. As the world shifts to climate conditions that may create chaos in the transition from farm to fork, it will be a Montreal startup that will sit in the middle with all of the data on hand to stabilize it.